$300 Million for High-Cost Rural Wireless Is an Inadequate Afterthought
The Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG), while supportive of inter-industry efforts to develop a consensus on USF/ICC issues, puts the Federal Communications Commission on notice that the USF/ICC framework filed today by NTCA, OPASTCO, WTA, and USTelecom does not contain genuine small, rural wireless carrier input. The framework should not be interpreted as reflecting any overall wireless industry consensus. RTG and other rural wireless associations were not a party to these discussions and the FCC should be aware of this fact as it considers this new USF framework. “While the new framework represents a promising compromise among many of the telecommunications industry’s major wireline associations such wireline groups do not have the experience or expertise to speak on behalf of the wireless industry,” said Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel.
“Wireline-based associations are free to discuss intercarrier compensation mechanisms and high-cost support levels among themselves, but any of their plans for the future of universal service for rural wireless carriers do not reflect the concerns of rural wireless carriers or address the need for ongoing wireless-based high-cost support in remote, rural areas,” Carri Bennet noted. As RTG has argued in the past, the FCC’s proposed $300 million ‘Mobility Fund’ is an inadequate long term solution to the high-cost needs of America’s rural carriers and their customers. “RTG looks forward to working with the FCC on a USF framework that reflects the needs of rural wireless consumers,” concluded Bennet.
About RTG – Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. ruraltelecomgroup.org @RTGwireless
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